Feminist assaults Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopolous, brags about it on Twitter
Right-wing media personalities and provocateurs Milo Yiannopolous and Gavin McInnes had water thrown at them by a feminist in Washington, D.C. Thursday.
The situation made a splash throughout Twitter due to the culprit’s brash admittance to the attack online. As Yiannopolous and McInnes ate at The Alibi restaurant in DC’s east end, one patron seated just a few tables over decided to livetweet the moment leading up to the attack.
At Toronto’s Ryerson University, students majoring in one of the “ology” disciplines have to take courses from another to round out their education. It is natural to take electives that add value to your major, so many students majoring in, say, psychology or criminology, both of which prepare students for careers where an understanding of relationship dysfunction is important, will opt for a course in the sociology department called “The Sociology of Violence and the Family.”
The problem with this course—and the reason I am writing about it—is that there is only one sociology instructor, Kelly Train, teaching it. So it’s Ms Train or no course at all in domestic violence (which, by the way, is no longer referred to by that trope in scholarly circles; it has for some years been more commonly and precisely known as Intimate Partner Violence, or simply IPV, which is the trope I am accustomed to, and will use hereafter.)
Train is by numerous accounts routinely peddling ideology-based theories on subjects she is not qualified to teach, while stifling freedom of inquiry and speech in her classes. Ryerson University should have taken action on this problem a few years ago, when they became aware of it, but apparently did nothing to solve it.
So the problem continues. Ryerson needs a sharper nudge, and this is it.
Train is a hardline feminist ideologue and, as suggested above, had already emerged as a controversial figure before I glommed on to her extreme bias and the distress it is causing or has caused a number of her present and former students. By former, I don’t mean only students who completed her course and were dissatisfied with it, but those who dropped out, because they found the costs incurred to their intellectual integrity in attendance higher than any perceived benefits they might receive by staying.
In 2017, Train was featured in several campus-focused publications, including the Ryerson student newspaper, The Ryersonian, for telling a student she could not write an essay arguing that the gender wage gap is a myth. She told the then fourth-year marketing and business student, Jane Mathias, that the “myth” premise is wrong, that the student should not depend on business sources she proposed to use, as they “blame women because of their patriarchal nature,” and should only use “feminist sources.” She suggested instead that Jane write her paper on “the glass ceiling” – that is, she should write a paper arguing precisely the opposite thesis from the one she wished to pursue.
Jane’s twin sister Josephine, studying at the University of Toronto, devoted a YouTube video to the subject, titled, “The Reality is Patriarchy: Indoctrination at Ryerson University.” The video contains a screenshot of the email Train sent to Jane that confirms these allegations. Jane also provided notes on the assignment to a reporter from the Toronto Sun, which ran a story as well, in which Train notes that Ontario and Canada government websites and Statistics Canada will not be considered scholarly sources.
In her interview with The Ryersonian included in the video, Josephine asks, considering how many times the gender gap has been explained and debunked, “How can someone so high in her academic level say that it’s completely wrong? That was my biggest issue.”
I interviewed three students who have had classroom experience with Train, whom I will identify as Andrea, Sandra and Jessica, not their real names. (The vast majority of the students in this course are women.)
Andrea dropped out of Train’s course after the first week. In a telephone interview with her, she told me that she was first of all put off by Train’s affect, which she described as “intimidating” as well as coarse (“every other word was f***ing this or f***ing that”). But mainly she was offended by Train’s denigration of any discipline or research method that she did not approve of.
According to Andrea, Train’s view is that IPV is always—and only—the abuse of women by men. Highly misandric (“men are always the problem”), Train ascribes a wish to control women as inherent in men. Andrea quoted her as saying, “After this course you will realize that you have been abused, raped or mistreated at some time in your life.”
When individual students pushed back against the dogma of unilateral IPV – some gave examples of male family members or friends who had been abused by women – Train rejected them out of hand. According to Andrea, Train told the class that if anyone opted for her online course because they found her intimidating, they would get lower marks, as they would not be working as hard. Andrea, therefore, decided she would not even take Train’s online course.
Sandra, my second interviewee, is presently taking Train’s course. She described Train to me as “cold and intimidating, very intimidating and comes off that way in the very first class.” She “tears every other discipline down.” Another student reportedly told Sandra that “if you write your essays and blame it on patriarchy you’ll be fine.” When challenged, Sandra said Train “yells” to discourage further objections. Sandra said she intends to write what Train wants to hear, not because she agrees, but because “I need a good grade.”
Sandra happens to be better informed on IPV than the average student, so she knows very well that men can and do get abused by women. But when she tried to introduce statistics into the discussion, she reports that Train told her stats are of no use and anyone (in her class) who uses them is “stupid.” Train claimed that stats do not convey more nuanced forms of abuse, such as verbal, psychological and financial. Perhaps not, but women are quite as capable of these forms of abuse, and employ them at much the same rate as men. Indeed, during custody battles, false allegations of abuse—sexual abuse of children and violence against the ex-spouse—escalate dramatically.
Jessica, my third interviewee, dropped out of Train’s present course after three weeks. Jessica had taken a course previously with Train, whose subject was “family differences and diversity.” She recalled one instance in which a male student told the class his father had full custody of him because his mother had not wanted him. Jessica reported that Train’s response to him was, “Are you sure your father didn’t just want your mother to pay him child support?”
Train was here parroting the common feminist myth that when a father asks for shared parenting or full custody, the only possible motive must be financial. That a father could love his child as much as a mother conflicts with the “power and control” theory governing many radical feminists’ understanding of male-female relations. Jessica told me that the young man’s eyes filled with tears at Train’s response. The other students were “shocked, to say the least,” at Train’s baseless insensitivity. “I have never had a professor like that, never,” Jessica concluded.
Maybe you think I am being tough on Train, and that a handful of students out of hundreds isn’t a fair representation. Statistically, you’d be right (even though Train doesn’t believe in statistics herself). Train’s ratings are good. A lot of students don’t see her tough affect as threatening at all, and take it in stride. Many students liked her personality. Most said they would take the course again. Some students really gushed their admiration for her.
But a closer look reveals that it may not be Train’s erudition or Socratic skills that constitute her most compelling attribute. The course’s average score out of five for “difficulty” is 2.0. Typical remarks: “she generally grades generously”; “Marks very easy I would say and for the exams, she gives all the questions in class!”; “Make sure you listen and take notes, the book is really small so you don’t really do a lot of reading. she also gives you the test questions to help you prep”; “She seems very tough but she is a very easy marker. Don’t buy any textbooks just show up to class and take notes”; “Professor Train is by far the best prof at Ryerson. She is such an amazing lecturer, and inspires students in class discussions. If you have her as your prof consider yourself blessed” (this student rated the level of the course difficulty at “1.0”).
Put these remarks together with what my interviewees told me, and what I see is a forceful, rather charismatic personality joined to adamant views. I see someone very “generous” with her time and rewards to those who toe the party line, not so much with students expressing independent opinions. Those students cross her at their peril. So it is no great surprise that the students who love her are those who see the rote-based ease of the course and the absence of any need to think for oneself as positive aspects, and those who complain about her are students who with intellectual aspirations, eager to develop their critical thinking skills.
Train’s herd of admirers are unlikely to have inquired into Train’s scholarly credentials. It is unlikely they would have cared that her academic background in the subject of IPV is virtually nil, and her publication history the thinnest of gruel altogether. She has published six articles, none of them expressly on IPV. Her sociology department profile states Train is “currently working on a number of large projects, including a book exploring the marginalization of the voices of Sephardi, Mizrahi and Jewish women of colour within Jewish feminist thought, and a book examining the experiences of North African and Indian Jews in the Toronto Jewish Community.” No hint of any interest in IPV is evident in Train’s academic profile.
As it happens, IPV is one of my niche topics as a journalist. Over the last 20 years, I have done a great deal of research on the subject. I know the epidemiology of the phenomenon quite well. (Epidemiology, a bona fide discipline, is the science through which public health and public safety policies are formed, including health policies that favour practices that target female-specific maladies and safety risks—i.e. Epidemiology could not exist without reliable statistics, which makes Train’s resistance to statistics all the more risible.)
I would recommend that Train read a 2019 report on IPV, titled “Prevalence and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence in Canada as measured by the National Victimization Survey.” Lead authors are Alexandra Lysova of Simon Fraser University and Don Dutton, Emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. The data came from a random sample of 33,000 Canadians surveyed in the 2014 General Social Survey of Victimization, so any teacher addressing the issue of IPV should not even think about trashing the source. Or even criticizing, let alone failing, a student for depending on it as evidence for their thesis.
From its abstract:
Based on the 2014 Canadian General Social Survey on Victimization, this study examined the prevalence of victimization resulted from physical and/or sexual IPV, controlling behaviours and also consequences of IPV for both men and women in a sample representative of the Canadian population. Given the paucity of research on male victims of IPV at the national population level, this article specifically discussed the experiences of men who reported violence perpetrated by their female intimate partners. Results showed that 2.9% of men and 1.7% of women reported experiencing physical and/or sexual IPV in their current relationships in the last 5 years. In addition, 35% of male and 34% of female victims of IPV experienced high controlling behaviours—the most severe type of abuse known as intimate terrorism. Moreover, 22% of male victims and 19% of female victims of IPV were found to have experienced severe physical violence along with high controlling behaviours. Although female victims significantly more often than male victims reported the injuries and short-term emotional effects of IPV (e.g., fear, depression, anger), there was no significant difference in the experience of the most long-term effects of spousal trauma—posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related symptoms.
Professor Dutton has dedicated his entire career to this issue. He has keynoted conferences on the subject all over the world. As of 2018, Dutton had over 30,000 downloads of his numerous publications. (Train’s scholarship has been cited in journals three times.) His 2006 book, Rethinking Domestic Violence, is the Ur-text for serious students of the subject, although I am sure Train has not read it or perhaps even heard of it.
I reached out to Professor Dutton, apprised him of the Ryerson situation and asked for comment. He wrote to me, “It is academically unacceptable to fail students for failing to agree with the professor and to rule out empirical studies. This Ryerson prof would fail me if I took her course.”
I of course contacted Kelly Train to ask for her side of this story. She did not respond. I also asked for comment from the Ryerson administration. Their response was a boilerplate statement that Ryerson University “is committed to creating a culture of respect and civility where all members of the community share a commitment to academic freedom, open inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge; where people feel valued and respected and treat one another with trust, dignity and respect.” No mention of Train or the fact that the allegations against her indict her of violating every single tenet in that statement.
Kelly Train is not a teacher. She is a conduit for feminist doctrine. Yet in spite of her unprofessional style and lack of academic accreditation to teach a university-level course in IPV, she earns $185,000 a year. As the old song goes, “Nice work if you can get it.” And apparently, if you’re a male-bashing, empirical-evidence suppressing, radical feminist in the department of Sociology at Ryerson University, “you can get it if you try.”
Natalie Portman’s protest for those women directors who weren’t nominated for an Academy Award this year was in subtle, gold embroidery on the edge of her custom Dior cape. This is just one of the many areas that a lack of diversity in the Academy Awards was called out by those who walked the red carpet.
“I wanted to recognize the women who were not recognized for their incredible work this year in my subtle way,” Portman told an interviewer on the red carpet. Her stunning and brave protest was well noted around the web.
The directors she listed on her cape were for a host of movies I didn’t see this year. Notably, I didn’t see any of the Oscar nominated movies this year. So basically, I snubbed all the directors, including those men who were nominated, so I am an equal opportunity Oscar snubber.
I think we can all agree that one of the most tragic blows to feminism is when 8 female Hollywood film directors don’t get nominated for a big award. It’s shameful, and it’s bold of Portman to point this out in gold on Dior.
It’s about as bold as a Bernie sticker on a Bentley. Or complaints that Faberge Eggs aren’t sourced cage-free and organic. Or wanting mink to be killed humanely before their fur is made into coats. Or holding charity galas to end poverty. Or when Mercedes used Janis Joplin’s song to sell cars. Is it hypocrisy to combat inequality at the highest levels of society with the most haute of couture fashion houses? How much can one little cape really take on?
Lots of people loved it.
Still others decried it as just another sign of white feminism, which is that thing where white women fight for women’s rights first instead putting every other social justice cause first.
But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is not the big bad monolith it was once considered to be. There are about 8,500 eligible Oscar voters in each of 17 categories, from editors to actors and everything in between. Voters in each category vote for the best in that category, and then the top picks from each category are voted on by everyone.
Should those 8,500 people be given guidelines along with their screeners to make sure that they are adequately taking the gender of directors into account when they are casting their votes? Should these voters be doing something other than voting for those films and artists that they feel are the best, in their humble estimations?
Diversity of gender in the best director category was not the only place where artists and the audience had complaints. The Academy knew it, and they didn’t seem super happy about it either. In fact, they had Utkarsh Ambudkar pop up for some freestyle rap to give a rundown of the diversity scorecard of the show thus far.
This same diversity question comes up at every awards show, including this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Awards, where even Prince William felt compelled to remark upon the lack of diversity in an awards show for which he has been the president for a decade.
No one wants this problem, not the awards shows, or their executives, or the artists, or the audience. But they don’t know how to fix it. It would be more than unfair to have categories specifically for minority artists, or to consider an artist’s race, ethnicity in determining an award. There are separate categories for male and female artists, and Portman’s cape begs the question of whether there should be separate sex categories for all the categories. Should there be best female editor and best male editor? Best female director and best male director? Best Black female director? Best South Asian transgender costume designer?
It seems absurd, but what is really being asked, and what is the accusation? Is it that the 8,500 Academy Awards voters are all racist and misogynist? Is it that an artist’s background be given weight or demerit (in the case of white men) toward their score?
Portman’s cape claims these women were snubbed. But there’s no way to know who they were snubbed by. The Academy doesn’t know, the voters don’t know, the audience doesn’t know. All we know for sure is that many people thought the Academy Awards had the appearance of unfairness. But we don’t know anything at all about if it was actually unfair, or if it only looked that way from the red carpet
Reading through The Guardian’s account of a $2,500 anti-racism dinner for liberal white women shows just how easy it is to convince a bunch of people that their skin colour makes them a root cause of societal evil. The white women who partake of these overpriced, highly critical dinner parties show up so that Regina Jackson and Saira Rao can reveal the truth of their flaws. It turns out that white women are the worst, and even though these liberal women didn’t vote for Trump, they may as well have given how little they’ve done to tear down systemic racism. These white women know they suck, and that their whiteness is to blame.
Jackson and Rao with their Race2Dinner aren’t the only women of colour ripping the scales from white women’s eyes, but they are the latest. There’s Layla Saad, who launched the 28-day #MeAndWhiteSupremacy challenge. Rachel Cargyle created a lecture called “Unpacking White Feminism,” which is usually sold out. As far back as 2015 articles started appearing all over social media talking about how white people should sit down with their whiteness and discover their own unconscious racism, showing all the ways in which their skin colour made them complicit in generations of oppression of black and brown bodies.
These were articles like: “Dear White Mom,” “The Intellectual Condescension of White Liberals,” “Across America, whites are biased and they don’t even know it,” “Listen when I talk to you!”: How white entitlement marred my trip to a Ferguson teach-in,” “I Don’t Know What to Do With Good White People,” “Black people are not here to teach you: What so many white Americans just can’t grasp,” “Why White People Freak Out When They’re Called Out About Race,” “How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour,” “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels,” and countless others.
Writers instructed white women on how their feminism was wrong to leave out their black and brown sisters in the Civil Rights movement. Before that, the Suffragettes were unforgivably unaware of intersectionality. White women were wrong to marry white men, assimilate to the heteronormative white patriarchy, and raise little perpetrators of racism. They were also wrong to marry men of colour, thinking that absolved them of their racism, or meant they were equipped to raise biracial babies even though they couldn’t personally understand that experience. White women pursued their education wrong, sucking up too many humanities courses without engaging enough in critical race theory, and it turns out that there are far too many white women in the publishing industry.
Purveyors of this kind of rhetoric instructed white women as to how they can better measure up to other people’s expectations for them. White liberal women read endless sermons as to how they are negatively perceived by others and what they can do to fix that, how they can get people to like them better. White women are getting used to always being wrong. With clutched pearls and wrung hands, white women really want to do better.
This whole time, they really have been trying, they’ve been reading the articles, and will readily admit that they fail and continue to fail. That’s why they’re willing to fork over $2,500 so that women of colour can confront them about the racism they know they have in their hearts somewhere but can’t seem to identify or pluck out.
White liberal women don’t feel good about themselves unless they know just how awful they are. The true beginning of this was Hillary Clinton’s loss of the 2016 election. When Clinton lost, white women took that as a personal referendum against themselves. They’ve spent the past three-plus years trying to figure out just what they did to make everyone hate them so much, and how to get everyone to like them again. White women got super cute when attending the first Women’s March in 2017, wearing pink knit hats with cat ears. They were called “pussy hats,” and the ladies on the buses giggled at the double entendre. But even their hats were wrong because as we know, not all pussies are pink, and not all cats meow. These hats were simply another example of the exclusionary nature of white feminism.
To top it all off, white women were aghast to find that 53% of them voted for Trump, and they’ve been trying to make reparations for that ever since. Liberal white women really want to get it right, and they’ll do just about anything to make it okay. That includes subjecting themselves to these totalitarian thought control experiments that first tell them they are thinking wrong things, even though they are unaware they are thinking them, and then seek to repair their thought process with alternative language wherein they can realize just how awful they truly are.
These white women penitents, these hangers-on of power, are believed by Jackson and Rao to be an untapped resource in the anti-racist resistance. Also, with the massive guilt and self-hatred they harbour, they’re kind of an easy mark.
We must identify this as what it is: a form of indoctrination no different from those that came before it. This is the isolating of a subset of the population and getting them to admit their race-based faults, then re-educating them as to how to live up to these new expectations. It’s not okay to do this to women or men of any race. There are not collective attributes associated with skin colour that make any one group more or less prone to tribal bigotry. We used to know that judging a person’s heart by their skin colour was absolutely anathema to progress, now women of all races believe it’s the only way forward. They’re wrong.
A resident of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood in Montreal has been ordered to keep away from the UQAM campuses while his criminal case is pending. Jean-Claude Rochefort, 71, is an anti-feminist blogger who was charged back in December with inciting hatred towards women according to the Montreal Gazette.
Rochefort was arrested in Montreal by police in December after a professor at UQAM filed a complaint against Rochefort allegedly posted a blog about Marc Lepine, the man behind the infamous Ecole Polytechnique mass shooting in 1989. It was a shooting that killed 14 women and injured 14 more. Just prior to the 30th anniversary of the shooting, Rochefort praised Lepine in a blog most and was consequently arrested.
Quebec Court Judge Alexandre Dalmau was informed that Rochefort wrote most of his blogs in English even though his native tongue is French on Friday. During his bail hearing in December, Rochefort was described by a prosecutor as having written some of the worst examples of inciting hatred. Rochefort was granted bail on Dec. 16 after agreeing to make a $200 deposit and post $2,000 bond. Along with conditions that required Rochefort to cancel any and all internet service providers.
Prosecutor Josian Laplante told reporters on Friday that she requested an additional condition, on behalf of the university that he not be permitted to enter on the campuses of UQAM given some of the references he made in his blog although there is no evidence that he had gone to the campuses any time recently.
“You have to understand that in the articles that were published there were references to a UQAM employee and the university asked that the employee be protected in some way. That is why the Crown and the defence consented to it,” Laplante said.
The case is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 21. Whether or not it will go to a trial will be determined after Laplante and Rochefort’s lawyer meet to discuss the possibility of a settlement. Rochefort has not denied that he was the one who wrote the blogs that led to his arrest. His charge is the wilful promotion of hatred of an identifiable group, between Sept. 1 and Dec. 5 2019, “by communicating statements, other than in private conversation.”
Rochefort was arrested back in 2009 just before the 20th anniversary of the Polytechnique shooting as well. Rochefort was arrested for uttering threats towards women through the use of his website in addition to posting a photo of an armed Lepine. The charge would eventually be dropped in 2010 however months later Rochefort plead guilty to possession of an unauthorized firearm. He was sentenced to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service.